Passage-dependent changes in baboon endothelial cells - Relevance to in vitro aging

Qiang Shi, Keiko Aida, John L. Vandeberg, Li Wang Xing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


In vitro cell culture system is a useful model for aging-related changes in a wide spectrum of biomedical research. In this study, we explored the passage and donor age-dependent changes in baboon macrovascular endothelial cells that are relevant to both in vitro cell culture aging models and experiments using cell culture techniques. We collected baboon femoral arterial samples from nine baboons ranging in age from 6 months to 30 years (equivalent to humans approximately 18 months to 90 years of age). We then cultured baboon femoral artery endothelial cells (BFAECs) in standard DMEM medium with 20% fetal calf serum with 1:3 split for subculture. Endothelial functions were documented by morphology, Dil-LDL uptake and expression of eNOS, MCP-1, vWF, VCAM-1, ICAM-1, and E-Selectin with or without cytokine stimulation. Most of the cells became nonmitotic after 30 population doublings, or 10 passages, when they became flattened, enlarged, and senescent. While It took approximately 3 days to reach confluence from three-dilution seeding at early passages (<6), confluence was not achieved even after 7 days of culture for cells after the 9th or 10th passage. There was a linear decline in eNOS expression with passage. However, this decline was significantly less in endothelial cells from a young baboon (6 months) than those from an old baboon (30 years). While basal expression of adhesion molecules was not changed with passaging, responses to cytokine stimulation appeared to be increased in later passaged cells. Our study has provided evidence for passage-related changes in key endothelial functions. The donor age-related differences in this in vitro aging process suggests that in vitro endothelial culture can serve as a biomarker for in vivo aging. Nonhuman primates can provide a model for investigating such aging-related biological characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)502-509
Number of pages8
JournalDNA and Cell Biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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